mephisto19 lca mirror self portrait

VNDL: Describe your work/process 

SK: First of all:

I cannot not take photos!
I see things, you do not see.
I see things, you do see, faster
I see in photographs.
I (nearly) always have at least one camera with me.
I do not want to change anything afterwards, I directly want to have a good picture.

Which function has photography for me? On the one hand, I am documenting my all day life, so a photograph is like a piece out of a diary. You can see where I had been, whom I met and what I did. I am also following the ten golden rules of Lomography. I have at least one camera with me, so I can always take a photo if I want to. As a visual person I react on structure, color and a change of “rules”, solutions of continuity of structures and lines. Such things pop into my eyes. There are certain motives and themes that are repeating in my work, such as Plompetorengracht in Utrecht or the Dome. That are places I really like to go, I like to take photographs of and that change during daytime and throughout seasons.

mephisto19 self portrait lubitel_

As I am not seeing my photographs immediately, I am returning to certain things until I have a satisfying result.
So much about my “all day life photography”.
But there is more.

For example my “mirrored- photos”, photographs where I change impressions the analogue way. Using the technique of mirroring, geometric figures are the result, motives sort themselves new and change their form, layering and create something new. By mirroring, some elements in the pictures repeat themselves. Such repetitions can be exact, e.g. by shooting architecture or not totally exact while shooting a moving or vivid thing. Doing that, there are irritations for the eye. The process of mirroring is questioned. Is this effect digital? How did he create the effect?
As much as I try to work as accurate as possible with this technique, there are always these small errors that lead to questions.

mephisto19 train self portrait

The light drawings have several directions. On the one hand there are the landscape like photos, pictures that have the illusion of a horizon, in that the streams of light are acting. Those let you think of big floodlights searching the sky.
On the other hand there are some that circle, that capture structures reminding of protein molecules., that capture something universal, that is inside every human, every being on earth.
Both streams have in common that they are long time exposures. Sometimes many minutes of exposed film, frozen time that is captured in these light drawings, sometimes body movements added. Those monotone movements, sometimes till it hurts, create certain lines to actually draw with the light.

The advance technique is also about layers, whereas here it is also about visualizing the flow of time. It is not about a static overlay such as the HQME-technique does, but more time in its flow, the change within every part of the layer and the repetition in a sequence of pictures. Using a pinhole camera (Diana Multi Pinhole Operator) the exposure tines are longer, what adds another layer of time to the photographs taken with the advance technique.

mephisto19 HQME Gracht at Night mephisto19 HQME jellyfish

The HQME-technique (High Quantity Multiple Exposure) is about breaking up the form, breaking up the shape and about putting many layers on top of each other. It is about, also with the long time exposures, to capture time in its progress. With the layers there is a pull into the photograph, pushing you away from visualizing the form pulling you to look at the meaning, at the emotion. Movements stop and are put in layers. Sometimes a photo consists of some hundred exposures what leads to a kind of trance while taking the photo, being just there to shoot, concentrated on doing, counting the exposures, looking at changes of light.
Taking portraits leads to irritations and the question “May I move?” is asked often.

Those layers also show up in my text and sound work.
Single letters or sounds are extracted and by repetition and overlays something new comes out. Sometimes it is a rhythm (that is also in some photos), sometimes it is a melody, but is always something total out of the sum of its parts. The total is divided into single parts and put together to a new total.

Here is a link to the piece ‘Utrecht over Utrecht’ on Soundcloud

mephisto19 HQME bike

But there is another layer of my work, that is not about the photographic results. It is taking photos as performance.
Yes, performance.
Who ever saw me on a photo walk knows what I am talking about. My head always moving to capture visual and auditive stimuli and the decision to take a photo or not, trying to be invisible while taking photos of strangers, but being so visible/noticeable at the same time, my sudden stops while walking, stopping while driving a bike or car, grabbing a camera and holding it out of the car window, that all sums up to an experience to the viewer that you could call performance.
But it is not only about performing for someone, no, it is also about what photography does to me. If I go out on an ice cold but sunny winter day to take photos of strangers in the city (something I hardly do) and come home with blisters on my thumb from advancing the film I realize a change, when I am, though scared of heights, ten meters above a stage to take a photo from that perspective it costs me lot of energy, when I am….

But as I said, this is only a small halt, a pause to reflect on what I am doing.

Next to photography I work with videos, sound and texts.

mephisto19 HQME Jakobikerk Utrecht

What have you been up to recently (trips, projects, work)?

I am working on giving more structure to the HQME. What I would really like is publish a photo book and I am planning on publishing my texts (German) this year. I also want to organize more cultural events and connect people, like I do with the KitchenConcerts in Utrecht. If I find the time, I am planning on writing more about art.

mephisto19 HQME panorama

mephisto19 HQME Plompetorengracht LCA

Favorite Quote?

“Never forget to set B back to N”, Adam Scott

mephisto19 wandering moon_

Advice for other creative’s/aspiring artists?

Work, work, work and if you’re done working, work again.

mephisto19 HQME Scheveningen

What are you currently listening to/reading/watching? 

I finally saw “Metropolis” (in the long version) and enjoyed it a lot. I am also watching some dutch films living there now to see what happened here. With music I am into singer/songwriters now (like Blaudzun), but THE tip is Camille from France. She is making very good music and videos! A photo book tip is: “unseen” by foam Amsterdam with many great photographs

mephisto19 HQME Utrecht

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Getting my diploma in fine arts in 2014 I don’t have to travel anymore between Germany (I study in Braunschweig) and Utrecht (where I live), so I can concentrate on one location. Of all works out fine I want to live from photography and have enough time to organize meetings and dinners. Another option is opening a gallery. And I really like to teach.

mephisto19 red shoes

Who is or where does your inspiration come from? Any emerging artists to watch out for? 

The child within is my source of inspiration, additionally some of my german attitudes like discipline help me to get lots of work done.

I like to browse the Internet for photography and videos, but also go to exhibitions (foam Amsterdam,…), love to look at books and talk to people about arts.

Someone I really like is Monika Jagoda (Berlin and Braunschweig), who is working with sculptures, texts but also with fabrics and video.

Really moving are the videos and photos of Anna Sasse (www.annasasse.de)

What I also highly recommend is the series “why don’t you shoot boys” by fookshit

mephisto19 my favorite tree

Stephan Kaps is a photographer splitting time between Utrecht, NL and Lindhorst, DE.

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